Malaysian GP fuel weights and strategies

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Here are the starting weight of each car and their projected first stint length. At Sepang the cars use fuel at a rate of approximately 2.38kg 2.64kg per lap (figures revised below accordingly).

GridQualifyingNameWeightFuel (kg)First stint (laps)
11Jenson Button6605520
22Jarno Trulli656.551.519
35Timo Glock656.551.519
46Nico Rosberg6565119
57Mark Webber6565119
68Robert Kubica6635821
79Kimi Raikkonen662.557.521
84Rubens Barrichello664.559.522
910Fernando Alonso680.575.528
1011Nick Heidfeld6928732
1112Kazuki Nakajima683.478.429
1213Lewis Hamilton6888331
133Sebastian Vettel6474215
1414Heikki Kovalainen688.98331
1515Sebastien Bourdais670.565.524
1616Felipe Massa689.584.532
1717Nelson Piquet Jnr681.976.929
1818Giancarlo Fisichella680.575.528
1919Adrian Sutil655.550.519
2020Sebastien Buemi686.581.530
Malaysian Grand Prix drivers' first stint projections (click to enlarge)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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45 comments on “Malaysian GP fuel weights and strategies”

  1. How can Glock and Trulli both stop and lap 21?

  2. How can Glock and Trulli both stop on lap 21?

    1. Presumably they’ll bring one in before the other.

    2. I’m beginning to like Toyota more and more; seems like they’re treating both drivers equally (thus we won’t have a he’s-faster-but-he’s heavy speculation like Hamilton vs Kovalainen).

      Though since Trulli is starting ahead, having the same fuel load means that Glock will most likely have to pit first (if he’s still behind Trulli at the time) and thus will lose out on time.

      Rather worrying to see Vettel’s super-low fuel load — I was hoping to see him on the podium! Oh well, let’s see if Barrichello can challenge the Toyotas and Ferraris from his position.

    3. “(thus we won’t have a he’s-faster-but-he’s heavy speculation like Hamilton vs Kovalainen)”

      In this session they’re both on the same fuel load, which may be of marginal interest.

  3. Robert McKay
    4th April 2009, 14:47

    Interesting numbers. A bit different from James Allen’s analysis, which puts Trulli/Rosberg/Glock/Webber pitting on lap 15, with Button one lap longer on 16 and Kubica on 17, and Vettel stopping on lap 11.

  4. Varun Murthy
    4th April 2009, 14:51

    How long is the race?? hopefully will start pouring immediately after the frontrunners pit..thats going to shake up things

  5. James Allen is predicting far shorter first stint durations: lap 15 for Rosberg, Trulli, Glock and Webber for example. The data above is based on Williams’ fuel consumption figure of 2.38kg per lap. I’m not sure why there would be such a large discrepancy.

    1. Robert McKay
      4th April 2009, 14:54

      Something to bear in mind for the live blogs tomorrow, lets note the two sets of predictions and see who’s closest. As Harry Hill says…there’s only one way to find out – FIIIIGGGHHTT!!! :-D

    2. OK Williams’ figure was actually 2.64kg/lap – I’ve updated the data accordingly. But there’s still a discrepancy: If Glock & co. are stopping on lap 15 then they’re apparently using 51.5kg of fuel in 15 laps, a rate of 3.43kg per lap, which is still higher than what Williams quote.

  6. Keith you’ve got Nakajima & Heidfeld with different weights, but the same first stints!

    1. Fixed – sorry about that.

  7. The Williams’ website says…
    “To complete a normalised distance of 5km around the Sepang circuit requires 2.38kg of fuel”
    With each lap being 5.543km long, that brings fuel consumption up to 2.64kg per lap.
    Maybe with drivers being more aggresive in the early parts of the race and burning more fuel this would increase for their first stints?

  8. Robert McKay
    4th April 2009, 15:20

    Also, I think Hamilton has more fuel than your table says, assuming dry weight is 605 kg, his weight of 688 means 83 kg not 63 kg.

    1. Robert McKay
      4th April 2009, 15:22

      Think the number of laps is about right for Hamilton, though – same as his teammate Kovalainen.

    2. Yep have fixed that now.

  9. Bigbadderboom
    4th April 2009, 15:30

    Hamilton is same weight as Kovi (typo from Keith) Hamis fuel load is about 83kg. Very strange strategy from vettel, he new he had 10 place penalty, you would think that would make him go long, i see a long day in traffic for him!

    Very suprised how light Sutil is as well.

    Varied figures, this race will take some following as fuel strats will take a while to unwind.

    1. He’s probably banking on an early rain shower. Does anyone know if/when Red Bull’s KERS will be ready?

    2. They’ll be using Renault’s KERS, and Renault are already running it, so presumably it’s their choice.

      But Newey tends to design cars that are more marginal on cooling than their rivals, so perhaps they’re concerned about running it reliably?

  10. All the KERS cars are starting with lots of fuel. Apart from Raikkonen, but his KERS battery didn’t appear on TV during qualifying – has he given up on it after it filled his car with smoke?

    Shame, I’d have liked to see someone like Lewis starting light and having an early charge through the field.

    1. Doesn’t sound likely, but is there any possibility that Ferrari can be allowed remove the KERS system from either of their cars before tomorrow’s race.

      If they don’t intend to use it, then they’ll just suffer from poor weight distribution without 6 seconds per lap of 80hp extra, to compensate.

      Could they cite safety as a concern?

  11. “Icyballs” Vettel should be weighed with his dry ice as well.

    Anyone notice his funny comment on

    Q: You replaced veteran David Coulthard at Red Bull. Can you guess how many interviews he sat through during his F1 career?

    SV: He was in Formula One for 15 years, so my guess is that it is probably three times the amount of women he had – something around 30,000?
    Incorrect – 55,400 (we’ve no idea about the women!)

    1. hitchcockm00
      4th April 2009, 21:14

      haha he’s such a legend!

    2. Full marks to Vettel for proving that being a cracking driver is not incompatible with having a personality.

  12. Do we actually know for a fact that the dry weight is 605kg (inc driver). Also I thought the KERS runners were about 30kg heavier dry?

    1. Yes, all cars are designed to be under the minimum weight limit – the excess weight is then applied with ballast in order to improve cars balance and handling.

    2. I thought the KERS runners were about 30kg heavier dry?

      KERS does weigh around that much, but even with KERS the teams still use ballast to get the minimum weight – they just use less of it.

  13. Nakajima should come in on Lap 29 by my reckoning.

    1. He should be in on lap 1 for a new front wing by my reckoning ;)

  14. I think the difference in the two predictions is just that James Allen assumes that there will be 4 laps of fuel left in the car when they pit. This seems sensible as it allows room for errors and mistakes. In anycase there is no way that they would run the cars totally dry before a stop, so the above prediction is bound to be a bit high.

    1. That would add up but it’s surprising they would leave four laps worth of fuel in. I mean, some of the drivers are going without dry ice to save a little weight – and it’s painfully hot over there – and some are using special extra-lightweight race suits in qualifying. Given that it’s hard to believe they’re going to drag around an extra 10-plus kilos of fuel for a full stint. One or two laps maybe, but four? How often does a driver miss his pit stop once lap, never mind three laps in a row?

    2. Especially now that the ridiculous pit-lane closure rule has been scrapped, there is no need to carry that much extra fuel.

  15. Good qualifying session ! ! !Although; watching Brawn & Toyotas fight at the top is not half as fun; as seeing Ferraris and Mclarens fight.

    BTW; Keith; I hope you read this.

    Of late, Your website has been too too slow; especially on race weekends. I can see why more and more people flock to this website; It is by far the best site for quick and accurate F1 news. I have been regularly posting on this website since last 1.5-2 years; and I don’t remember ever seeing 250-300 comments on just the “predictions” post. But shouldn’t you upgrade your server too to accommodate the rush ?
    I connect to f1fanatic from Chennai, India; from a 100 MBPS broadband connection. Still; It takes atleast 1 FULL MINUTE for the homepage to load on firefox.

    I hope you will do something about this. :) Keep rocking :)


    1. Try reading the site through NYU’s Coral CDN. In any case, you’re probably not getting the full 100 Mbps when accessing sites outside India (or even outside Chennai). Most ISPs are very optimistic when quoting their bandwith.

    2. Thanks sumedh – I understand some people are having these problems, I’m struggling to replicate them myself though.

      Any information you can supply me with would be useful, and that goes for anyone who’s having trouble seeing the site any time:

      Contact F1 Fanatic

  16. the difference between Keith and James is that Keith forgot about two extra laps wich driver is making before race starts out-lap from pit and warming lap.

    1. But isn’t fuel consumption much less on the out-lap and warming lap? They aren’t pushing. I know IndyCar commentators say that they use half the fuel on those laps as on a hot lap, but I don’t know how accurate that is.

    2. True but i we deduct one lap’s worth of fuel for the lap to the grid plus the warm-up lap, and say they leave another lap or two’s worth of fuel in the car to be on the safe side, then the difference between the two estimates start to make sense.

      Still, I’ll be glad next year when this isn’t an issue any more!

  17. Data from bbc:

    1 Button – lap 20
    2 Trulli – lap 18
    3 Glock – lap 18
    4 Rosberg – lap 18
    5 Webber – lap 18
    6 Kubica – lap 21
    7 Raikkonen – lap 21
    8 Barrichello – lap 21
    9 Alonso – lap 27
    10 Heidfeld – lap 31
    Stops calculated on weight of fuel in cars at 2.75kg per lap

    They think that Button is a lap heavier than Keith’s data.

    1. Looks to me that they think the other four in the top five are a lap lighter.

  18. Yep that’s what I meant, they also have pos 8-10 lighter

  19. If Vettel had tried to qualify with More Fuel in his car, he’d be starting near the back of the grid.

  20. daa, i guess both BBC and the columnist/analyst here forgot abaout the KERS weight.For instence, Nick Heidfeld has about 65Kgs of fuel instead of 87kgs( the KERS weight’s about 25-30 Kgs, and excluding the KERS a Formula 1 car has to weight atleast 605kgs( des includes the driver and the camera weight, that means with KERS NIck Heidfeld’s car should weight right about 630kg’s.)


    W F Laps
    Nick Heidfeld 692 87 32
    Nick Heidfeld 692 62 22-25

    1. No they didn’t forget – see post above where I asked a similar question before the race.

      The cars all carry ballast to get them UP to the required minimum of 605kg with driver. KERS represents approximately 30kg of this ballast.

      The non KERS runners therefore have more flexibility with their ballast placement but the dry weights end up about the same for everyone.

      I think…

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